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FriFotos: Urban Observations from NYC’s Top of the Rock

A hipstamatic view from the Top of the Rock

New York City has many urban treasures, among them a few fabulous observation deck views.

The Top of the Rock Observatory might not be as well known as the Empire State Building’s, but the views it offers are (in my opinion) a bit better. Located on the 67th-69th floor of Rockefeller Center, Top of the Rock underwent a $75 million dollar renovation before re-opening to the public in 2005. This recent renovation included outfitting the deck with glass windshields which give more clear lines of sight to the urban landscape below.

Located between 49th and 50th streets, Top of the Rock gives you clear views of Central Park, the Empire State Building, and a glimpse of the deco jewel of the Chrysler Building.

A view of Central Park on a cold January day

Looking downtown from Top of the Rock you see the Empire State Building

A Glimpse of the Chrysler Building from the lower observation deck

The lobby is spacious and airy and a fun place to people watch. The glass windscreens offer better shelter from the elements than the viewing deck at the Empire State Building. The downside: all that glass can contribute to some glare and flare when trying to take photographs.

L: the Atlas statue outside Rockefeller Center on Fifth Avenue R: Tourists at rest in the lounge like lobby

Taking pictures behind a windshield at Top of the Rock

It was 17°F when I visited–way too cold to use this viewfinder.

The glass windshields on the observatory at Top of the Rock make the view a bit better than the Empire State Building’s, but can add all sorts of flare and reflections which can be tricky to photograph.

Tourists taking pictures on the observation deck of Top of the Rock

Top of the Rock is open seven days a week from 8 am – midnight, with the last elevator up at 11 pm. Holiday hours may vary. Adult tickets cost $25 and children under 12 get in for $16.